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Everyone loves Mason jars. But how do you know? Luckily, there are experts out there who can tell you all about the different types of Mason jars that have appeared - and disappeared - through the ages. And what are Mason jars, anyway? The glass jars were created to form a hermetic seal, and were used for canning and jarring. The jars are also known as Ball jars, thanks to the Ball corporation that still manufactures the jars today, as well as fruit jars, or simply canning jars. Check out what you need to know about your jars below, and then start rummaging through your cabinets.

At one point, I found what claimed to be the original source and linked to it here. But in the last 6 months or so, that site went down and never came back. The URL no longer works. So if someone does know the original source, please reply in the comments so I can relink. Thanks bunches! Your guess is as good as mine. If you have an old jar you want to sell, I suggestion you check on to see what similar jars are selling for.

Good luck! Dating Old Canning Jars. Enjoy this post? Newman's key made a noble attempt at simplifying bottle dating, but is weakened by the fact that the subject is much too complex to be conducive to such a simple approach by itself.

Also, the format and space constraints of a journal article do not allow for the elaboration and illustrations necessary to make a key function fully Jones b. Newman wryly recognized all this with his reworking of an old saying: "This bottle dating key is for the guidance of the wise and the obedience of fools.

This website is designed to have the informational depth, pictures, and illustrations necessary to solve the problems of the Newman key though his warning still holds, although hopefully less so. This entire website is essentially a key to the dating and typing of bottles. However, the author of this site still recommends Dr. Before jumping into the key, it must again be emphasized that no single key can get a user to an absolutely precise date for any bottle.

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The best the following key can do is get a user to a reliably close dating range estimate. Other information on this website usually must be reviewed to fine tune the information about a specific bottle. In addition, other references beyond the scope of this website usually must be consulted to get as complete of a dating and typing story as is possible for any given bottle.

Dating Old Canning Jars. While it is okay to use them for storage or even as a refrigerator container, you should never process old jars in a canner. The old glass can't take the temperature change and might shatter - which would be such a shame. Plus, the old fashioned sealing method is not reliable. THE SEAM METHOD - OF DATING OF GLASS BOTTLES At one time almost all bottles were completely hand blown (in the open air) without the aid of molds of any kind. Such work required skilled craftsmen and a great deal of manufacturing time. Small wonder then that in many cases the bottle was more than half the cost of the product. Owens-Illinois Glass Company was the result of the merger between two glass-making giants of the industry: Owens Bottle Company (Toledo, OH; predecessor Toledo Glass Company began operation in ) and Illinois Glass Company (based in Alton, Illinois, with glass production dating from ). Formerly headquartered at Toledo, OH; now based.

This include period newspapers, business directories, glass makers catalogs, trade journals and related publications, and other sources too numerous to detail. Keep this all in mind as you progress through the key which follows and on into the other website pages Starting with Question 1follow through the questions as suggested.

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There is frequent hyper-linking between the diagnostic characteristics and terminology listed on this page and other website pages. This is done to allow the user to get more information or clarification as they proceed through the key.

Pursue these links freely since they will take a user to more details on bottle dating and identification and hopefully add to the users knowledge and understanding about the bottle being "keying out. The three questions found on this page below answer several basic questions about a given bottle.

Answers to these questions will then direct a user to one of the two additional dating pages which are extensions of this key for the two major classes of bottles: mouth-blown bottles and machine-made bottles. Read the questions - and accompanying explanations and exceptions - very carefully as the correct answer is critical to moving properly through the "key.

For examples of how to use this dating key see the Examples of Dating Historic Bottles page. This page guides a user through the key for seven different type and age bottles with several being side-by-side comparisons of very similar bottles of different eras.

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This page also shows how other portions of this website can provide information pertinent to the bottle in question. See the About This Site page for more information about the author and contributors. For brevity, most of the specific references are not noted in the key's narratives.

The sturdy glass jars with their airtight seals have been a favorite for making preserves, pickles, and more - and lately, they've enjoyed a resurgence among the younger DIY crowd who love Author: Laura Caseley. Aside from the logo, another way for how to date Ball mason jars is the glass color. If a glass is colored purple, it means that manganese dioxide was used to make glass look clear and transparent. Exposure to sunlight though caused the glass to turn purple. During World War II, glassmakers shifted to selenium as supply for manganese dioxide. Look for jars embossed with the Atlas name in raised lettering. Take note of any dates or other information on the jars. The Hazel-Atlas company was in business from to During s and '50s, the company was one of the largest producers of canning jars along with competitors Ball and Kerr. Check the style and color. Only a few types.

They are noted on the other website pages which expand on the information summarized in the key. If you know your bottle is machine-made click Machine-Made Bottles to move directly to that page.

If you know your bottle is mouth-blown aka hand-made click Mouth-blown Bottles to move directly to that page.

Dating antique bottles requires knowledge of the evolution of bottle technology and the ability to research manufacturers and bottling companies. Although glass bottles have been made for a few thousand years, it was not until the 19th century that bottle use became . Jul 19, Ball mason jars are a type of home canning jar made by the Ball Corporation. The company started making mason jars back in , and many people today still use these for canning, or collect the jars as a hobby. There are many ways to date old Ball mason jars, and one of the easiest is to look at the logo. Along with the logo, you can sometimes 91%. This Bottle Dating page (and website in general) is designed to address what the website author refers to as "utilitarian" bottles & jars (click for more information). Utilitarian items makes up the bulk of the bottles produced during the 19th century and first half of the 20th century.

If unsure about what embossing or vertical side mold seams picture below are, click on Bottle Morphology to see this sub-page for a illustration and explanation of these and many other key bottle related physical features. Return back to this page by closing the Bottle Morphology page. Vertical side mold seam on the neck of a beer bottle ending well below the finish, indicating that it was at least partially handmade - ca.

YES - The bottle has embossing or visible vertical side mold seams somewhere on the body between the heel and the base of the finish or lip. A bottle may have mold seams but no embossing, but all embossed bottles were molded and have mold seams even if they are not readily apparent. See note 2 below if there is embossing but it is only within a disk of glass which appears applied to the neck, shoulder or body of the bottle.

This bottle is either free-blown"dip" molde or was produced in a "turn-mold" aka "paste-mold" where the side mold seam is erased during manufacturing.

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A "NO" answer is much less likely than "YES" for this question as a very large majority of bottles made during the 19th century and virtually all made during the 20th century were mold blown resulting in mold seams; see the note below. Notes : 1. A low probability though possible "NO" alternative is that the user has an unembossed, molded bottle with no visible vertical side mold seams. This can be due to one or a combination of factors including post-molding hot glass "flow" masking the mold seams, fire polishing of the bottle body, or atypically good mold part s fitting precision.

If necessary, look very closely at the bottle shoulder - the best location to see vertical side seams on mouth-blown and most machine-made bottles - in good light with a hand lens to see if there is at least some faint evidence of where the mold part edges came together.

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Often the vertical side mold seams are evidenced by very faint changes in glass density in lines where one would expect mold seams to be.

If the embossing on a bottle is only within a separately applied blob seal similar to that shown to the right click to enlargeand found nowhere else on the bottle, the bottle is almost certainly mouth-blown.

This is another low probability choice but certainly possible.

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One of the longest running "myths" in the world of bottle dating is that the side mold seam can be read like a thermometer to determine the age of a bottle. The concept is that the higher the side mold seam on the bottle the later it was made - at least in the era from the early to mid 19th century until the first few decades of the 20th century.

Kendrick's explains in the text pages that It is true that the mold seams can be used like a thermometer to determine the approximate age of a bottle. The closer to the top of the bottle the seams extend, the more recent was the production of the bottle.

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The chart accompanying this statement notes that bottles made before have a side mold seam ending on the shoulder or low on the neck, between and the seam ends just below the finish, between and the seam ends within the finish just below the finish rim top lip surfaceand those made after have mold seams ending right at the top surface of the finish, i. Although there are examples of bottles having mold seams that fit these date ranges properly, the issue of dating bottles is much more complicated than the simple reading of side mold seams.

If it were that simple much of this website would be unnecessary! For example, the process that produces a tooled finish frequently erases traces of the side mold seam up to an inch below the base of the finish whereas the typical applied finish has the seam ending higher - right at the base of the finish Lockhart et.

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The reason this is noted here is that the concept keeps popping up in the literature of bottle dating and identification ranging from Sellari's books Sellari published shortly after Kendrick's book to as recent as Fike and Heetderk's For a broader discussion of this subject see Lockhart, et al.

If unsure about what the liprimor finish of a bottle is, check the Bottle Morphology sub-page. Toledo, OH. This is a "machine-made" bottle or jar and will also usually have a highly diagnostic horizontal mold seam just below the finish base that circles the neck.

The picture to the left shows both of these mold seams click to enlarge. If your bottle fits this description, click Machine-made Bottles to move to the related webpage which allows the user to pursue more information on bottles produced almost totally in the 20th century by some type of automatic or semi-automatic bottle machine.

The vast majority of U. The following is a discussion of the most common exceptions to the side mold seam "rule" describing a few types of machine-made bottles on which the vertical side mold seams do not quite reach the top edge of the finish making them possible appear to be mouth-blown.

Fire Polishing - Although infrequently encountered, machine-made bottles may have fire polished finish rims - a process which eradicated evidence of the neck-ring mold seam on the rim of the bottle.

These bottles will not have the side mold seam proceeding from the upper finish side over and onto the rim itself. Ostensibly this was done to remove the mold seam rim "bump" that was sometimes left by earlier machines - an action which may have helped facilitate better sealing with crown caps, screw-thread caps, or similar closures which sealed on the rim of the finish. These bottles will, however, have the vertical side mold seam progressing all the way to the very top of the finish side, just not onto the rim.

They will also have other machine-made characteristics as described on the Machine-made Bottles page. In the experience of the website author, these machine-made bottles are rarely encountered and likely a function of early machine-made wares to s that had less precise mold fitting and resulted in the need for fire polishing to facilitate proper closure function.

Milk Bottles - Many milk bottles made with press-and-blow machines from the very early s into at least the s resulted in vertical side mold seams that gradually fade out on the neck distinctly below the base of the finish. Click here for a picture of a typical s to s milk bottle.

GLASS BOTTLE MARKS. GLASS FACTORY INFORMATION Antique Glassware Manufacturers' Marks, Logos & Emblems used by Glassmaking Companies in the USA Antique Bottles Fruit Jars Glass Electrical Insulators Tableware Dating Info Articles about different types of Glass, Vintage & .

This exception to the side mold seam "rule" was caused by the specific workings of these machines which masked the upper portion of the side mold seam. Click on the image to the right to view both mold seam features pointed out on a press-and-blow machine manufactured milk bottle made by the Pacific Coast Glass Company San Francisco, CA.

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If your bottle is a milk bottle that fits this description, click Machine-made Bottles to move to the Machine-made bottles dating page for more possible dating refinement and to pursue more information. The image to the left is a close-up of the shoulder, neck and finish of a small Sheaffers ink bottle click to enlarge for more detail. The image shows the vertical side mold seam ending on the outside edge of the bead finish at a "ring" mold the upper portion of a parison or "blank" mold induced horizontal mold seam that encircles the extreme outer edge of the finish.

The side mold seam does not extend onto the top surface of the finish, i. These features are pointed out - and much more readable - on the larger hyperlinked image; click to view.

The image to the right is a close-up of a small, medium green, machine-made ink bottle. As above, click on the image to view a larger and much more readable version with the various features pointed out.

This termination of the side mold seam within the finish short of the rim Sheaffers ink or actually short of the finish itself green ink on these bottles makes it appear upon casual glance that these are mouth-blown bottles having either an improved tooled finish Sheaffers or an applied finish green ink.

Owens-Illinois Glass Company

However, both bottles are certainly machine-made. Click Sheaffers Ink to view the discussion of this bottles features on the Household Bottles typology page. There is also no neck ring mold seam immediately below the finish like found on most Owens machine produced bottles and on a majority of all machine-made bottles.

Instead, there is one located near the base of the neck indicating that the neck ring mold portion of the parison mold produced the finish, neck, and a portion of the shoulder. This is also pointed out on the image above; click to enlarge. The earlier green glass ink bottle is also certainly machine-made, most likely on an early semi-automaticblow-and-blow machine based on its crudeness and lack of a suction scar.

It also has no neck ring mold seam immediately below the finish like found on most Owens machine produced bottles or on the majority of machine-made bottles. Instead, there is distinct horizontal mold seam protruding slightly on the outside edge of the lower finish and another vague mold seam encircling the bottle located on the shoulder near the base of the neck.

This indicates that the neck ring mold portion of the parison mold produced the finish, neck, and a small portion of the shoulder.

These are all pointed out on the image above; click to enlarge. Both these described machine-made ink bottles exhibit no sign of the concentric, horizontal finishing 0r lipping tool induced marks that would be present on a mouth-blown finish which was hand tooled to shape.

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These bottles are discussed in more detail in the ink bottle section of the Household Bottles non-food related typology page. If your bottle is an ink fitting the descriptions above, click Machine-made Bottles to move to the Machine-made bottles dating page for more possible dating refinement and to pursue more information.

The concentric rings are not always as obvious as the picture shows click to enlarge and sometimes not visible, though if present it is a conclusive diagnostic feature.

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Turn-mold bottle body showing faint concentric rings.

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